Recently I, Roget, the site historian, had a chance to sit down with the founder of the SCP Foundation as we know it, The Administrator, the first member of the site, and ask him a few questions. Hopefully, it is interesting to you. The Administrator, also known as FritzWillie, was the man who moved us to WikiDot after the EditThis wiki farm kicked us off. Without him, this community, as we know it, simply would not exist. A lot of people came after him, to change things and make the community we today inhabit, but he got the ball rolling.
Bold portions are my questions, with the regular text being his responses.
How did you find the SCP Series?
I've always dabbled in writing, nothing ever serious. After starting and stopping 3 or 4 books, most of my attempts stayed in the short, short story range. Things like telling ghost stories to friends and playing games that tested who could bullshit the best to make it sound true. I spent as much time on the internet as any other mid-20 year-old at the time, lurking around a few forums, mostly sites like 4chan. 4chan was still fairly underground at the time, b/ made enough people cringe that people were still afraid to share it with their friends out of the worry that you'd be judged for others' weird fetishes. I only showed it to my then wife for the same reason people point and gawk at horrific car wrecks.
She was the one who found a home on x/. Paranormal topics were a specialty of hers, after reading about SCP-173 she followed it back to it's EditThis wiki and when I got home from work she encouraged me to poke around it. Working night shift in a hospital, wikipedia was actually something I read for fun. Everything else was blocked at work, so I spent nights reading random articles, wishing I had something to contribute. Finding a community of writers on a wiki producing short,short fiction loosely connected with one another was exciting for me. I finally had something I could contribute.
What was your first impression of seeing the SCP Series, and how soon after seeing them did you move to EditThis?
The site was already on EditThis when I found it. You couldn't tell if the site was in it's infancy or if the creator was as clueless to web page building as I was. I don't even remember there being a formal title to site, there was only the list. Hundred of numbers to pages waiting to be made. I think I posted my first SCP within the first day or two of finding the site. If I remember right, I think it was 'The Blacklight,' a first generation flashlight that shone anti-photons of light that could even black out the sun. You could make and do anything you wanted. It was amateur, it was with out rules or guidelines, it was even chaotic and silly and I loved it. Some of the more active members were talking about cleaning the site up and making it more professional.
Sometime within the first month I tried to contact the site admin but I never got a reply and it seemed it had been abandoned. When I contacted EditThis about maybe transferring admin duties to someone else, they offered to sell me the site. I have no idea if the EditThis site was created by original author of SCP-173 or someone like me that just took it and ran with it, but that's what I did. One night I created the current wikidot site and migrated all the content over by just copy and pasting it one page at a time. I think others helped, but I disguised myself as the original founder, so that others wouldn't question the move.
What was the culture of EditThis SCP like? Who was prominent there?
The community was very green back then, there wasn't a real forum. We just edited a page with our comments and name attached to everything we said. People were everything from encouraging and helpful to rude and degrading, the typical internet population. I had no idea what I was doing when I migrated the site to wikidot, so when people started asking me to implement and perform certain duties, I kinda freaked. I started making the more active members into admins through just necessity, the ones who seemed more constructive. Kain and Gears were the ones I remember the most.
Why, in your words, did we leave EditThis for WikiDot?
We moved because of necessity, the original creator of the EditThis page abandoned it. I inadvertently set up a chain of events when I contacted the EditThis wikifarm, they responded saying that they had no contact with the original admin. That if they didn't get contact from that person, they could sell me the site and if I didn't buy it, it was slated to be deleted.
Maybe I'm just a cheap bastard, but I didn't want to go and buy the site, so I googled other wikifarms to see who offered the best services for free. Wikidot came up number one for both features and free content.
How did you set up the original wiki? Did you have any authority on EditThis, or were you just a member?
I was just another member on the EditThis site. I don't think there was even a sign up or accounts, you just edited pages and said it was yours, it was as basic as can be.
What inspired you to write "A Word From The Administrator"
There was no real storyline or back story for the Foundation at that point. It wasn't hard to write a mission statement, when SCPs require the existence of the Foundation ipso facto; to operate worldwide with complete governmental cooperation and the ability to combine both history and legend together.
In an anthropology class in college, I remembered hearing that Homo Sapiens had been around for hundreds of thousands of years. How insane is that? Recorded history only goes back a few thousand years, but men have been around thousands of times longer than that! What were we doing? A man from 200,000 years ago is genetically the same as you or I, if you plucked him from the paleolithic and taught him to use a computer, he'd be looking up porn and posting cats in no time (don't quote me because I don't know if they had begun worshiping cats yet). I mean, homo habilis was using stone tools 2 million years ago and today we're using iPads, When my dad was my age he was programming tic-tac-toe into computers with a shoebox of punch cards.
Yes, we've advanced so fast in such a short amount of time, but that just raises the question of, what held us back for so long? Its a question that isn't expected to be answered easily and one that's as mysterious as the SCPs themselves. The idea to push SCP occurrences back to pre-history was one that I hoped would get others wondering just how long the SCP Foundation and others like it had been around. Any god, beast or creature of legend could have been a possible SCP.
If you can't tell, I take a very dramatic prose and time and time again, the community has been vocal in their dislike of it. I guess I'm not clinical enough, and perhaps that's driven me away a bit.
What were the first "big" popular SCP articles?
There was no voting system back then and you couldn't tell what was popular unless people left positive comments in the discussion tab of each article. Something was 'big' if it was referred to in other articles. Basically the ones that are 'big' today were the one's that were big back then, they have the most history and mythos solidifying themselves in the SCP universe.
How did the name change from "SCP Series" to "SCP Foundation"?
After I set up the forum, I think the name of the site was one of the first major issues to be discussed there. The thread might even be there in the history of the forum. We basically had a vote, people made suggestions and others yay or nayed them. 'Foundation' was actually one of my least favorites, made us sound like a non-profit organization. 'Institute' was another well liked name, but it made us sound like a school or research facility. I think the one I came up with was 'The SCP Front,' I liked how ambiguous and empowering it sounded, like 'The Front' as in the front-lines of a battlefield. Heh, I don't think anyone else liked it. Most people liked 'Foundation' so that's what we went with.
Where did you think the fandom was going?
I wasn't too concerned with 'fandom.' Of course I'm happy people have really taken to the Series, but I my participation in SCP establishment was entirely selfish. You see, I periodically HAVE TO write. I could use romantic rhetoric and say I HAVE TO write, in the same way I HAVE TO breathe, but in truth, I HAVE TO write because if I don't all these ideas and words build up in my head, until the pressure to expel them becomes so great I can't hold it in any longer. So, I HAVE TO write in the same sense as I HAVE TO shit, but please, don't take that as a allegory that alludes to the quality of my writings.
Why did you register the FritzWillie and The Administrator accounts separately?
Two reasons, one honorable, one deceitful. I was already going by FritzWillie on the original site, and no one had any final authority on any big decisions, such as a complete site migration. So, I created The Administrator as a commanding persona. FritzWillie could be vetoed in his bid to migrate the site. The Administrator could very well be the original creator of the series, people were very accepting of the move.
Once we were established on wikidot, I stepped back from admin duties and continued to write as FritzWillie. The last thing I wanted was people to potentially up vote my material just because of the position of The Administrator. If people really liked my writing, I wanted to know it was for my ideas, not because they were brown nosing the site's Admin.
What was the first SCP you ever read?
SCP-173, but that was not what got me hooked. It was the common link that all the SCPs had in common, the fact that they were written by completely different people but all set within a common world.
Do you have a favorite SCP right now?
I have favorites(s), both new and old, but I think I'll keep them to myself, I don't like influencing people's opinions.
What did you think when you came back, seeing how much things have grown and changed in your absence?
Well, when I saw a video game starring 173, I think I had to change my pants, and not just because it was a freaking scary game. Of course I'm impressed, proud and happy that the site has gotten to where it's at, but I won't take anymore credit than that. I saved the site, but it was everyone else that made it great and got it where it is today, so good job, to you and everyone else.
Why did you pick Masipag, Kraito, Kain, and Gears as the original admins?
Mostly because they seemed the most dedicated and interested in keeping the site going strong. I didn't have any friends on the site, no one that I had anymore than a brief comment to and from. Once the series was saved from deletion, I wanted to quickly back off from admin duties.
What did you think of the olden SCP community? What attracted you to it, back then?
Like I said before, the community was very green and simply didn't have the resources to even hold a proper forum. What attracted me back then was the feeling like you were sitting around a campfire telling others scary stories. These stories were weird, interesting and most importantly felt like they were part of a large communal universe created by us for us.
What are the last events you remember on the main wiki before you had to go?
That's one of the hardest to remember, because once I was diagnosed with cancer, I actually came back to the site frequently because I had a lot more free time. However, I had a lot on my mind, so I don't remember what events were going on at the time. As my health got worse, I frequented the site less and less until I was an outsider to the universe again.